Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Beardsworth, Sara. Review of Gunnar Farlsson, PSYCHONALYSIS IN A NEW LIGHT. NDPR (December 2010).

Karlsson, Gunnar.  Psychoanalysis in a New Light.  Cambridge: CUP, 2010.

Karlsson's book redefines the significance and purpose of psychoanalysis from a phenomenological perspective that conceives of psychoanalysis as a science (searching for truth) and "not merely as a method of treatment." His purpose is "to discuss the domain and conditions of psychoanalysis theoretically rather than from the perspective of clinical experience." This project is clearly executed with helpful chapter summaries along the way. Overall, it casts a powerful phenomenological searchlight upon the couch, levering the intelligibility of psychoanalytic theory off from dependence on its own empirical moment, the practice. We will consider the major fruits of this endeavor before questioning its risks.

Four specific objectives can be discerned in Karlsson's book: to ground psychoanalysis as a science phenomenologically, to present the Freudian subject as a temporalizing subject whose original striving is the striving for existence, to integrate narrative truth and historical truth in psychoanalysis, and to establish the function of self-consciousness in the analytic setting. . . .

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